When I was a teenager, I was barely able to boil water and couldn't do laundry. However, there are circumstances where teenagers are able to live separately from their parents. Starting at the age of 16 (the minimum age in Texas that a child may become emancipated without a court proceeding) consideration may be given by a court to a child's request for emancipation.
Duty to Support your Child
Parents in Texas have a legal obligation to raise their children, in their home until the kids reach the age of 18. An exception exists when the parent gives their children permission to live in the home of another adult like a grandparent or another family member.
Why do parents have this obligation? The biggest issue a child would potentially have if they tried to move out of their parent's home would be the inability to enter a contract. Practically speaking, this means not being able to buy a home, rent an apartment or apply for a credit card.
Legal Effect of Emancipation
Under the Texas Family Code the legal effect of emancipation, in that a minor:
- obtains the power to make and be bound by contracts, including car purchases, apartment leases, credit cards, etc.
- The minor becomes financially and legally responsible for his or her decisions.
However, the minor does not obtain certain other age-restricted privileges, such as:
- buying lottery tickets
- buying cigarettes
- buying alcohol, etc.
Once a minor is emancipated the relationship between the parent and child is terminated as a legal matter.
What this means is that the parents no longer have a duty to provide:
- or any other support to the child.
- Any child support is also terminated after the emancipation of the minor
- parents also lose control over the financial and legal affairs of the child, including the right to control the earnings of the minor.
Emancipation of the minor does not mean that a parent cannot have a relationship with the child or voluntarily aid the child. It means that doing any of those things is by agreement of the parent and the child.
How can a person under the age of 18 become emancipated from their parents?
Emancipation of a minor in Texas involves three scenarios:
- entering military
- Legal Proceeding
Texas Family Code Section 1.104 “Except as expressly provided by statute or by the constitution, a person, regardless of age, who has been married in accordance with the law of this state has the capacity and power of an adult, including the capacity to contract.”
Texas Family Code Section 2.101 Typically, a person must be 18 in Texas to get married.
However, with their parents' consent, a child as young as 16 may get married under section 2.102 of the family code.
Without parental consent a minor can petition the court to get married under 2.103 of the family code. The petition must include:
- a statement of the reasons the minor desires to marry;
- a statement of whether each parent is living or is dead;
- the name and residence address of each living parent; and
- a statement of whether a court has awarded to a person other than a parent of the minor the right to consent to marriage for the minor.
- Process shall be served as in other civil cases on each living parent of the minor or on a person who has the court-ordered right to consent to marriage for the minor, as applicable.
- The court shall appoint an amicus attorney or an attorney ad litem to represent the minor in the proceeding.
- If after a hearing the court, sitting without a jury, believes marriage to be in the best interest of the minor, the court, by order, shall grant the minor permission to marry.
Joining the Armed Forces
Similarly, the legal age to join the military is 18, but with parent permission a child may join earlier than their 18th birthday.
Without the above two situations being in place, a child may request their emancipation from their parent(s).
Under the Texas Family Code Section 31.005:
- if a child resident of Texas is 17 (or 16 and living apart from his parents) and self-supporting and managing his own finances, he may file suit to “remove the disabilities of minority.”
- The court may order the child emancipated if emancipation is in the child’s best interest.
It is essential to be able to show that the child is able to support themselves financially in addition to being able to handle the hardships and difficulties associated with living on your own at such a young age.
If you are a minor who is interested in becoming emancipated from their parents, or if you are a parent who has question regarding your child and how emancipation works please contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn more.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.